It’s been such a hectic few days yet again! Whilst still organizing the new house and having BF’s family over last weekend to celebrate his birthday, I had to put painting and writing on hold to help make more space, tidy up and make the house look more presentable for visitors. My rather extensive Hello Kitty collection has meanwhile been a bit of an issue as I’m running out of space to put them! As much as I love all of my plushies, I don’t have much choice but to downsize. I shall only keep the rare collector’s items and the favorite ones that spark joy for me. Filter out any incidental duplicates that I had bought on impulse without realizing I had the identical one at home already! In short, declutter and give away some. But how? Luckily I made it in time for King’s Day here in the Netherlands last Tuesday. Apart from celebrating King Willem Alexander’s birthday, it is also customary to set up market stalls and have a garage sale. What a great opportunity!
I had about 6 boxes of Kitties to give away or sell. My boyfriend was ever so supportive and helped me set up a little shop in front of the house, reiterating that it’s also a great way to get to know our new neighbors. Normally we can reserve a market stall in the village center, but due to Covid restrictions we were only able open shop in front of our house and only between 10:00 till 13:00 instead of the whole day. Our house is tucked in the edge of the village so we didn’t expect much passing trade. However, two little sisters from the house down the road happened to walk by with their mom and excitedly bought a few for about one euro a piece. It’s not about the money anyway. I’m just happy to make kids smile during these difficult times and that my Kitties can find a wonderful home! Then word got around and before I knew it, families were going out of the way to cycle all the way to check out this Hello Kitty shop. And so I decided to paint about it, starting with this pencil sketch on my pad of Strathmore’s Visual Journal.
And what a kawaii theme. My boyfriend and I standing side to side awaiting the little customers. Laid out on the orange cloth are the many kitties sad to leave but at the same time excited about their new home. We are dressed in orange which is the attire for King’s Day as it is the color of the Dutch royal family. Once I was happy with the sketch, I went about painting it, starting with the background in green acrylic ink. I started with blue for the sky but changed my mind and made it green seeing that part of the Dutch flag is blue.
I went for a combination of gouache, acrylic ink and markers (Molotow acrylic pens and Faber Castell’s Pitt Artist’s Pens) for the rest. First I painted the house with Holbein’s acryla gouache. Violet shades were used there to help balance the painting alongside the other secondary colors of green and, later to be used, orange. After that, the crown was filled in with gold gouache followed by the face in acrylic ink by mixing white with antelope brown. As we see here, the face turned a bit too sallow which I fixed later on. Gouache was also used for the oranges in the outfit, flag and floor mat. To differentiate the outfits from the rest, I made the orange more neon by mixing fluorescent red and yellow. Then the hair and eyes were filled in with markers by Faber Castell’s pens with the whites with Molotow acrylic markers.
Drawing Hello Kitties!
Not the best at drawing Hello Kitties but at least she is recognizable! I traced the pencil sketch over with the fine nib of Faber Castell’s pen in black. After that, I went through each kitty and added pink or red ribbons followed by the outfit. This was then followed by the Dutch flag. What I love about these markers is that they are derived from India Ink and are hence permanent and lightfast. I don’t ever having regretted investing on a set of 60 colors with a huge variety of shades to choose from! To enhance the white in the Kitties, I went for white colored pencil. Whilst I was finally happy with the kitties and objects on the orange mat, I was not happy with the colors of our faces. This was rectified by mixed white with some Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold. In future I shall definitely be sticking to this combination. The finishing touch to this painting was tracing the outline of our crowns with some gold glitter glue. And now I think we’re good to go!
And what a cute little painting this is with all the Hello Kitty’s, and we look so happy together! It was difficult letting go of some of the plushies but I can be rest assured that they are now being rehomed and going to be well looked after by little girls who will really appreciate them. Since then, one more box was posted to a former schoolmate in Greece who runs a children’s library. I’ve now got four more boxes to go, but I will try to sell them again next year and donate some to a children’s hospice here. Meanwhile, I need to resist impulse buying especially on-line and focus on quality and rarity if I like one. Choosing to paint about this is certainly more therapeutic and helps me deal with letting go, whilst putting my mind in perspective.